Industry 1.0 to 4.0 in a Nutshell

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0, was officially mentioned in a book written by Klaus Schwab in 2016. Between 2011 and 2015 Germany was already working toward implementing digital technology into the manufacturing process. Since then, Industry 4.0 has taken the world by storm. Let’s take a brief look at our progress from the First to the Fourth Industrial Revolution in order to truly appreciate just how far we have come.

First Industrial Revolution (Industry 1.0)First Industrial Revolution (Industry 1.0) – The Beginning (mid 1700s – late 1800s)

The Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century. This was the period when the transition from hand produced products to machine-powered production was made possible due to the use of steam power. Here we witnessed a shift in the economy from agriculture to manufacturing. This was the birth of Industry 1.0.

The First Industrial Revolution (Industry 1.0) began in Britain with the European continent and United States close on their heels. Implementation of steam power, the invention of machine tools such as milling machines and screw cutting lathes, and the mechanization of textile production resulted in incredible progress regarding output and efficiency. Products such as iron were produced at a significantly faster rate, in a more fuel efficient environment, and with greater cost effectiveness.

It is in the First Industrial Revolution where we saw high rates of economic growth, an unprecedented rise in population growth, and an increase in average income. That was directly due to the innovations of this time. It was the textile industry that was the first to begin the use of the modernized production methods. The rest quickly followed.

Second Industrial Revolution (Industry 2.0) - (late 1800s - early 1900s)Second Industrial Revolution (Industry 2.0) – (late 1800s – early 1900s)

The Second Industrial Revolution, or Industry 2.0, emerged on the scene from the late 19th to early 20th century. Also referred to as the Technological Revolution, this came about with the discovery and implementation of electricity and mass production. In the United States, the rapid advancement of transportation systems such as railways to meet increasing demands gave birth to Industry 2.0.

It was the advancements in manufacturing and production technology that allowed for the expansion of the telegraph, railway system, automobiles, and increased production of iron and steel. The large-scale expansion of the aforementioned gave rise to an unprecedented movement of people and ideas that existed on a global scale.

Third Industrial Revolution (Industry 3.0) - (late 1900s - early 2000s)Third Industrial Revolution (Industry 3.0) – (late 1900s – early 2000s)

The Third Industrial Revolution (Industry 3.0) is also referred to as the Digital Revolution and Information Age, beginning in the late 1900s. The invention of the internet and the use of electronics to automate production brought about the rise of Industry 3.0. This is where we see the shift from analogue and mechanical electronic technology to digital electronics.

Technological innovations such as the personal computer, compact discs, integrated circuit chips, MOS transistors, and transmission technology (Internet, computer networking, and digital broadcasting) are a result of the Third Industrial Revolution. Known as the Information Age, Industry 3.0 has brought with it information that is widely disseminated and easily accessed through the use of computer technology.

Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) - Today’s World (early 2000s)Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) – Today’s World (early 2000s)

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) builds upon the Digital Revolution, combining the digital, virtual, and physical realms. With Industry 4.0 we have seen the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based computing and technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In this case, production is moving toward an autonomous nature where machines are able to communicate with one another with minimal human intervention.

Automation of production and manufacturing by utilizing smart technology, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and the IoT (Internet of Things) minimizes the need for human intervention. The benefit is increased productivity, efficiency, and a means to address labor shortages contributing to supply chain issues.

Conclusion:

Though it’s been a long, hard road since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 is laden with the rise of amazing new innovations. What an exciting time to engage and play a role in this emerging story. As we move toward the future with enthusiasm and ambition, one cannot help but wonder, ‘What will we see in the Fifth Industrial Revolution?’

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